The 2013 NBA Class may have come into the league at the perfect moment. The Salary Cap has ballooned, the CBA is basically done but not expected to hinder players, and teams are more wary than ever about losing talent for nothing. NBA players have never had more power over their destinies, and teams are doing their best to lock up talent now, even if it costs.
However, General Managers and Owners are being more judicious with their money. They will spend, but on the right player in the right circumstance (see Mozgov/Lakers). Securing your 4th year option is no longer a forgone conclusion, let alone an extension. The 2013 Draft class has been an interesting one to say the least, and the players who have received an extension are a very varied bunch:
- Victor Olidipo – Pick #2
- Cody Zeller – Pick #4
- CJ McCollum – Pick #10
- Steven Adams – Pick #12
- Giannis Antetokounmpo – Pick #15 (quite likely the best player from this draft)
- Dennis Schroder – Pick #17
- Gorgui Dieng – Pick #21
- Solomon Hill – Pick #23 (cheating, he was a UFA and signed a contract not an extension)
- Rudy Gobert – Pick #27
- Allen Crabbe – Pick #31 (also cheating, he was a RFA already and signed a contract not an extension)
- We won’t get into Anthony Bennett – he was the #1 pick from this draft!
There are a number of the top draft picks that look likely to head to RFA status, assuming they are offered a Qualifying Offer. I’ll be offering my opinion based on looking at their current production against their expectations coming into this year. This isn’t necessarily saying who will get signed, just who is improving their individual situation.
Here are 9 players to keep an eye on as we progress through the season and head to the Summer of ’17.
- Jonathan Simmons
- Tim Hardaway Jr
- Tony Snell – He might have been out of the league next year before being traded.
- Joe Ingles
- Bojan Bogdanovic
- Ron Baker
- JaMychal Green
Porter had that great playoff series and everyone thought he was going to finally live up to the promise after a shaky start. His numbers weren’t bad last year, but his game still felt like it lacked consistent impact. Contract year though? Different story. Porter is averaging career highs in basically every important category:
If Porter maintains this level of production, there is no way he is getting less than $20 mil per year. At that price, the Wizards will have to think long and hard about keeping him. But really, can they afford to not?
The 2 Guard spot is in a bit of a funny state across the league, so someone with KCP’s defensive ability and potential on offence should be in line for a huge pay-day. It was mildly surprising Detroit didn’t get something done in the offseason, and it could cost them big time if he has a good year. *NEWS FLASH* He’s having a good year. KCP currently ranks 24th in the whole league in Real Plus Minus, has improved his PER, Offensive and Defensive Rating, shooting efficiency and assist percentages to career high levels. Tom Gores better get that chequebook ready.
The Plumdog Millionaire became a mini revelation after replacing Robin Lopez in Portland’s starting lineup. He can pass, run, and even added a jump shot this off season (breaking news, he hasn’t). Plumlee currently leads all Centres in assists, and only trails Blake Griffin and Draymond Green if you expand to ‘bigs’. His defensive rating has fallen off a cliff, but that is what happens when you play with the worst defensive team in the league and is offset by his offensive rating skyrocketing.
Overall his game has improved, even if not by leaps and bounds. At the very worst, he should make more money than his brother(s).
- Trey Burke – I wonder if his Dad still thinks he’s better than Exum?
- Nicolas Laprovittola
- Alan Williams
- Damjan Rudez
- Arinze Onuaku
- Aaron Harrison
- James Michael McAdoo
Poor MCW. Rookie of the year turned J-Kidd protege turned benched for Jerryd Bayless turned traded for Tony Snell turned injured and watching Jerian Grant play ahead of you. His decline has been as swift as the effect of lactose to my digestive system. Carter-Williams should be angling for a stint in San Antonio so he can be taught how to shoot, as this is the one area that has really held him back over his first years in the League.
The other area is health. Every season he has missed significant time, and each year he has missed more and more. So far this season he has only played 3 games. A Qualifying Offer is a 50/50 prospect from the Bulls at this point.
At this point, I’m sure McLemore just wants out. The next Ray Allen might have been waiting for Jesus Shuttlesworth to ‘officially’ hang up the sneakers before showing what he can do, but at this point, McLemore might be in danger of hanging them up at the same time as Mr Allen.
OK, that’s a bit extreme, but watch this video of Greg Anthony talking about what McLemore could be and the look at where he currently is. McLemore wants to be traded, but Sac don’t want to lose him for nothing. However, a trade seems like the only way he will get a chance to see the court more and improve his value.
Another player who should be begging to get to San Antonio to learn how to shoot a jump shot. If Roberson could hit 35% from 3, he would be at least a $15mil per year guy. His shot distribution looks like Daryl Morey’s version of porn.
His defence is already great on the wing, and he’s becoming a great cutter. Overall he has been good this year, but OKC did just pick up a similar styled player on the cheap in Jerami Grant. Sam Presti and Coach Donovon would have liked to see some improvement on offence, and for the most part it’s just not there. OKC will likely keep him, but his lack of offence means he’s expendable. Expect someone to take a random flier on him if OKC don’t get something set up early (Hey Brooklyn, you again with an offer sheet?).
- Jordan McRae
- Reggie Bullock
- Joffrey Lauvergne
- Cristiano Felicio
- Nikola Mirotic – Not playing great, but many people blame Hoiberg for this.
- Shabazz Muhammad
- Jonathan Gibson
Surrounded by a glut of bigs both in Phoenix and in his draft class, Len has had moments in the Sun, but his stats have often felt very empty of substance. On the one hand, his eFG% and TS% are at career highs, as is his rebound %, and he is blocking shots and getting steals at a much higher frequency than last year. On the other hand, he has a net rating of -11.7 according to nba.com’s stats hub, and he rank 65 out of 68 centres in ESPN’s offensive real plus/minus.
Unless Chandler is moved, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense dishing out big money to Len to come off the bench, not with so many other semi-decent Cs in the league and Len’s traditional numbers being much better as a starter. If Chandler is traded though, Len is getting paid.
Noel seems destined for a trade. At the likely price Philly are asking, anyone willing to give up future assets will be wanting to secure Noel’s services long term. His offence is still a work in progress (being very, very kind here), but he is already an excellent defender, despite being surrounded by turnstiles more often than not in Philly.
Realistically though, Noel will need to prove his worth with his play, and prove that he can stay healthy. His value has undeniably taken a hit as he has spent 1/4 of the season on the pine. The sooner he gets back, the sooner he gets traded, the sooner he can start rehabbing his reputation and put a more positive narrative out there. Until then, money is literally pouring down the drain.
Bush League Kelly has had a run of bad luck with his shoulder, which has kept him from really making his mark in Boston. He has shown flashes of potent offensive firepower, but for the most part he has stayed the same player we have known for the past 3 seasons.
At the very least, he projects to be better than Meyers Leonard, and he was able to
steal get $41 million from Paul Allen’s wallet. Olynyk is one of the few stretch 5s who has shown he can do a little more than just shoot, even if only a little. You can’t teach 7 ft and you always need shooting. Olynyk isn’t wowing anyone, but he hasn’t hurt himself either.